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Global School Leaders

place India + 3 more

We train and coach school leaders in marginalized communities to be learning-focused and improve student outcomes.

Despite evidence of the critical impact of school leaders, in many countries they receive minimal training for their role. GSL provides professional development to school leaders serving the neediest students. We blend on-site coaching, participatory workshops, and peer exchanges to transform the focus of school leaders from administration to improving students’ learning.

HundrED 2020


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2020

Teachers for a Changing World

Web presence






Target group
April 2019
After the last session on behavior management, we held a meeting with our teachers and spoke about corporal punishment. We were really nervous because in the beginning they felt like ‘are you telling us everything we have been doing so far has been wrong’? but slowly as we explained they became more open to the idea. We will have to do a lot of work but for now at least all of them have agreed to put away their canes and try to manage their class without it.

About the innovation

Global School Leaders

Global School Leaders (GSL) is a non-profit organization to develop effective school leadership that improves learning of students from underserved communities around the world. GSL contextualizes global best practices to meet the distinct demands placed on school leaders in developing world school systems. It is based on the program and experience of the India School Leadership Institute (ISLI), a non-profit that has trained heads of 1400+ schools in India since 2012.

By 2023, we aim to reach 2 million students from underserved communities annually across 10 countries.

Strategic aims and approach:

GSL is incubating locally-led organizations in developing countries that train leaders serving the neediest students, focus on student learning, and rigorously measure impact. GSL is also developing a global network of school leadership trainers who are focused on schools catering to marginalized communities to promote knowledge sharing and research on this issue. Finally, GSL is developing an online course for the professional development school leaders that we see asa major strategy of creating scalable approaches.

Program Design:

Global School Leaders programming is based on the work done by the India School Leadership Institute (ISLI). The program works with school leaders in their context to develop sustainable leadership and is based on current best practices and research regarding excellent school leadership

The core pillars of the program include:

•In-school support to implement and monitor impact, professional development, learning with and from others and school self evaluation;

• Comprehensive data collection and analysis to show what is working well and where improvement is needed;

• Personal leadership development - this focuses on the competencies, behaviours and ethics needed for excellent leadership. It is built around the understanding that school leadership demands a complex set of skills and that all school leaders need personalised support in order to sustain improvement.

Based on the common traits and practices of excellent school leaders, the following domains for the framework for our programming:

1. Leading Learning - leading a school where excellent teaching and accelerated learning happens

2. Leading People - leading groups of people toward a shared vision of excellent practice

3. Leading for equity - leadership for underserved communities

4. Leading School Improvement - leading the change management process in a school

The overarching leadership domain that frames the others is Personal Leadership, where school leaders reflect on how their own personal example and mindset is key to driving change in any of the above domains.

Leadership Development Structure:

Our strategy, takes into account school leaders’ starting points and their legitimate concerns. The programme is designed to evolve through the two years of Fellowship in a way that balances theory and practice and is relevant to the context of each school. What leaders learn in the workshops and academies is directly applicable to improving teaching and learning and to supporting them to become a more effective school leader. The on-going, regular support from GSL staff coupled with school self evaluation enables school leaders to build the skills to accurately measure their own progress, to evaluate what is working well and to share leadership through the school, keeping all stakeholders, including parents, involved.

Past and present projects:

Since the launch as an organization in 2017, GSL has been working on developing programs in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Kenya. In each country, GSL is incubating locally-led not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to the professional development of school leaders in under-performing schools. In Malaysia, GSL launched a 25-school pilot program in the Klang region that will began in January 2018. In Indonesia, GSL is supporting the launch of INSPIRASI, an organization that will begin with a 75-school pilot program in Karawang. In Kenya, GSL is conducting a 50-school pilot in both government and low-cost private schools in partnership with two local Kenyan organizations.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

This program is targeted at school leaders focused on schools catering to marginalized communities to promote integration and knowledge sharing. This research and evidence-based innovation promotes equity, excellent teaching and learning practices and improves school management processes with visionary leadership.

HundrED Academy Reviews

Development of an online course for the professional development of school leaders helps expand the innovation. Working with local organizations that work in schools helps scale the program. Has potential for scaling, evidenced by numbers reached.

A well balanced proposal of in-school support, comprehensive data collection and analysis and personal leadership development, that raises the level of impact. Combining online workshops with in-school work with leaders and teachers is very empowering.

- Academy member
Academy review results
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